Nov. 30, 2022

This is a rebroadcast. The episode originally ran in September 2021.

Ryan Gottfredson, Ph.D., is a cutting-edge leadership development author, researcher, and consultant. He helps organizations vertically develop their leaders primarily through a focus on mindsets. He is also an associate leadership professor at the College of Business and Economics at California State University-Fullerton. He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resources from Indiana University, and a B.A. from Brigham Young University. As a consultant, he works with organizations to develop their leaders and improve their culture.

Ryan is the author of The Elevated Leader and Success Mindsets. He has written multiple articles for Leading Saints, presented at a live event about mindsets, and is a repeat podcast guest. As Ryan reviewed leadership research, he found it primarily answered one question: “What do leaders need to do to be effective?” The focus of his work has been on “What do leaders need to be to be effective?” In this podcast, Ryan and Kurt discuss the concept of vertical development and how it applies to individuals and leadership.

Ryan Gottfredson


06:25 Vertical development is the next topic Ryan has been studying and writing about. It applies to us emotionally and spiritually, and possibly even physically.
07:40 Overview of mindsets: Mindsets are the mental lenses we wear that shape how we view the world
09:10 What vertical development is

  • Three adult developmental stages that are a function of effort, both horizontally and vertically
  • Elevating our ability to make meaning of our world in more cognitively and emotionally sophisticated ways
  • 12:00 Examples of how people in different levels respond to constructive criticism

13:45 The three different levels

  1. Mind 1.0: Focused on our comfort, safety, and belonging. Self-protective. Dependent thinkers, exchanging power and independence for these needs.
  2. Mind 2.0: Focused on being seen, advanced, and getting ahead. Independent thinkers, in self-reward mode.
  3. Mind 3.0: Focused on contributing and adding value, externally focused on lifting and elevating others. Interdependent thinkers, able to see from different perspectives and sit with complexity. Only 1% of adults get to this place.

20:00 Becoming more like the Savior happens through vertical development

  • Example of Mind 1.0 recommendation for seeking information
  • Approaching teaching from the perspective of vertical vs. horizontal development

25:15 The tension between safety and truth

  • Example of people protecting the safety of beliefs in a Sunday School lesson
  • Being a seeker of truth and learning to sit with complexity instead of becoming defensive
  • It is in the interpreting that we connect with God

31:05 Leaders operate differently depending on their vertical development

  • Do we even allow for a conversation about interpretation?
  • “Aspiring” fits into Mind 2.0
  • Mind 3.0 leaders are focused on creating a culture that is inclusive and allows for growth and development

37:25 The culture of aspiring to leadership
39:00 How do we go about developing vertically?

  • What makes meaning for us are our mindsets
  • Example of an inward vs. outward mindset and how it helps us become more like Jesus Christ
  • Seeing others as doing their best: “What has happened to you?” vs. “What is wrong with you?”

46:20 Learning acceptance: Healing from our own traumas as we recognize Christ accepting us

  • Vertical development involves calming our response so we have a greater tolerance
  • The new “Sunday School answer”: get to where you can have 100% acceptance before doing anything
  • 51:35 When we help people repent we help them change their hearts and how they make meaning with their world, not their behaviors and actions

55:00 Where to start
57:55 Our vertical development is about healing our minds and hearts


Success Mindsets: Your Keys to Unlocking Greater Success in Your Life, Work, & Leadership
The Elevated Leader: Level Up Your Leadership Through Vertical Development
Vertical development article: Two Ways to Develop as a Church Leader
Rising Strong
What Happened to You?
The Body Keeps the Score
The Bonds That Make Us Free
Updated TRANSCRIPT coming soon
Listen on YouTube
Get 14-day access to the Core Leader Library

The Leading Saints Podcast has ranked in the top 20 Christianity podcasts in iTunes, gets over 500,000 listens each month, and has over 10 million total downloads as part of nonprofit Leading Saints’ mission to help latter-day saints be better prepared to lead. Learn more and listen to any of the past episodes for free at

Past guests include Emily Belle Freeman, David Butler, Hank Smith, John Bytheway, Liz Wiseman, Stephen M. R. Covey, Julie Beck, Brad Wilcox, Jody Moore, Tony Overbay, John H. Groberg, Elaine Dalton, Tad R. Callister, J. Devn Cornish, Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Anthony Sweat, John Hilton III, Barbara Morgan Gardner, Blair Hodges, Whitney Johnson, Ryan Gottfredson, Greg McKeown, DeAnna Murphy, Michael Goodman, Richard Ostler, Ganel-Lyn Condie, and many more in over 500 episodes.

Discover podcasts, articles, virtual conferences, and live events related to callings such as the bishopric, Relief Society, elders quorum, Primary, youth leadership, stake leadership, ward mission, ward council, young adults, ministering, and teaching.

This episode is from Leading Saints Podcast whose proprietor has full ownership and responsibility on its contents and artworks. It was shared using Castamatic, a podcast app for iPhone and iPad.